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CE regulations for switchgear and controlgear cabinets

30.03.2022

Manufacturers of switchgear and controlgear cabinets and machinery manufacturers have many questions about the CE regulations for cabinets that are used to control machinery. After all, both a switchgear/controlgear cabinet and a machine are ‘products’ that must comply with the relevant product regulations. What is the role and responsibility of the switchgear cabinet manufacturer? And what about the machinery manufacturer? Certification Company clarifies this for you in this article.

Laws and regulations for switchgear and controlgear cabinets

A number of different directives may be applicable to switchgear and controlgear cabinets, such as the Low Voltage Directive, the EMC Directive, the ECO Design Directive, the ATEX Directive and the Machinery Directive. The Machinery Directive will usually be applicable to machinery in most cases.

What does that mean in practice?

In the following part of this article, we will cover two situations that occur frequently in actual practice:

  1. The switchgear manufacturer puts a switchgear/controlgear cabinet on the market for a non-specified customer and a non-specified application.
  2. The cabinet manufacturer supplies a switchgear/controlgear cabinet on commission to a machinery manufacturer for a specific application.

Placing switchgear and controlgear cabinets on the market

A switchgear cabinet manufacturer markets a switchgear/controlgear cabinet if they supply the cabinet under their trade name (company name) and/or from a catalogue, whether or not online. It is often unclear beforehand what the specific application of the cabinet will be.

Responsibility of the switchgear cabinet manufacturer

In this case, it concerns the marketing of electrical equipment. This means that it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to give the cabinet a label that falls under the Low Voltage Directive and the EMC Directive. This means that it is only required to affix the CE

marking and the name and address of the manufacturer to the cabinet. Apart from that, the cabinet manufacturer must also have a technical file. They only need to provide the client with safety instructions at the time of delivery.

In most cases, a switchgear/controlgear cabinet will not fall under the definition of a machine pursuant to the Machinery Directive. However, if a cabinet does have any electrically driven mechanical moving parts, the Machinery Directive may also be applicable. In that case, the cabinet manufacturer must also supply the CE Declaration of Conformity, safety instructions pursuant to the Machinery Directive, the user manual, assembly instructions and maintenance instructions with the delivery.

Responsibility of the machinery manufacturer

Is the machinery manufacturer then going to install the switchgear/controlgear cabinet? If so, the cabinet then becomes part of the machine and the Machinery Directive applies to the whole machine. The machinery manufacturer then becomes responsible for the CE marking of the machine as a whole, including the switchgear/controlgear cabinet.

The delivery of switchgear and controller cabinets to a machinery manufacturer for a specific application

In actual practice, however, it is more common for a cabinet manufacturer to supply a switchgear/controlgear cabinet to a machinery manufacturer on commission. The cabinet is not sold ‘publicly’ then, but is designed and manufactured specifically to become part of a particular machine. Although the supplier and the machinery manufacturer can also follow the same procedure as explained above, in practice we usually see that the cabinet is supplied without a name, address and CE marking.

In that case, the machinery manufacturer is responsible for the CE marking of the machine as a whole, including the switchgear/controlgear cabinet. This means that the machinery manufacturer must also prepare the technical file for the machine as a whole, including the switchgear/controlgear cabinet. In this case, they only have to comply with the Machinery Directive. Does the whole machine including the switchgear/controlgear cabinet comply with the Machinery Directive? Then the requirements of the Low Voltage Directive and the EMC Directive are also implicitly met.

Although the cabinet manufacturer is not legally obliged to do this, it is useful if the machinery manufacturer can make use of information and technical documentation from the cabinet manufacturer during this process.

Do you have questions?

Are you a manufacturer of switchgear and controlgear cabinets or of machinery that has a switchgear/controlgear cabinet installed in it or has to be installed in it? And do you have questions about CE regulations? Please feel free to contact us! Our experts are standing by to help you.

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